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Mini-Symposium: Scaling up Systems and Application Complexity in Analog Neuromorphic and Physical Computing

When:Th 24-03-2022
Where:5173.0149 Linnaeusborg, Zernike Campus, Groningen, NL

A concentrated, discussion-oriented 1 day symposium (online or in person)

The event is organised by Professor Herbert Jaeger from CogniGron/University of Groningen and CogniGron.


No registration fee. The symposium is designed as on-site, in-person event; all invited speakers will be present. Talks and parts of discussions will be streamed to the internet, but not interactively. Please register through the online form at

Idea of how this symposium should function:
The field (rather: fields) of neuromorphic / unconventional /physical computing spreads over numerous traditional scientific and engineering disciplines. Learning to understand each other’s terminology, motivations, standard working routines and formal methods is as difficult as it is crucial for a long-term productivity of this field (rather: fields…). This needs - - - … time. Time for just talking with each other. With regards to this symposium we decided to have only a relatively small number of presentations (the four invited talks) which gives us more time than usual to “just talk” with each other – in moderated discussion rounds and maybe even more importantly, in uncommonly long breaks. This gave us the following schedule for the day (merely indicative, we will be extremely adaptive):

Wednesday March 23

Excat time tba (evening): a nice pre-symposium dinner

Thursday March 24

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome from Organizers (Beatriz Noheda, Herbert Jaeger)

9:15 – 10:00 Patty Stabile: From InP Photonic Integrated 2D Matrices for Neuromorphic Computing to 3D Photonic Neurons and Non-Volatile Programmable Photonics

10:00 – 10:15 Discussion with Patty

10:15 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 11:45 Wilfred van der Wiel: Material learning

11:45 – 12:00 Discussion with Wilfred

12:00 – 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 – 14:45 Bernabé Linares-Barranco: Event-Driven Sensing, Convolution-Processing, and STDP Learning

14:45 – 15:00 Discussion with Bernabé

15:00 – 15:30 Breank

15:30 – 16:15 Kwabena Boahen: The Future of Artificial Intelligence: 3-D Silicon Brain

16:15 – 16:30 Discussion with Kwabena

16:30 – 17:00 Rounding up: General discussion: After this day of thinking, what are our views on and expectations for the scaling-up challenge? Here are some trigger questions:

  • Let us first review and appreciate the complexity levels attained in the digital computing world!
  • What do we mean by “scaling up”:
    - single microchips, or networked systems (what communication signals or “protocols”?)
    - complexity of tasks to be solved
    - formal theory: the neuro-symbolic integration problem, complex systems maths, combinatorial structures in nonlinear dynamical systems
    - designed or self-organized physical complexity?
  • Is the idea of a “microchip” appropriate in the first place? (compare with early digital computers before the microchip revolution)
  • Embedding non-digital systems in a digital ecosystem: the only way to go? Will it be forever like that (i.e. non-digital systems “junior partners” depending on digital environment)?
  • Will we need to exploit a collection of different physical effects co-located in same physical substrate? (brains do that, have that!) Could such “nano-scale physically diverse” hardware be fabricated?
  • What are “corridors for reasonable hope” to scale up in the next years / decades?